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A screenshot of the Google.fr homepage, displaying the court-ordered message. (Google)

French Court Orders Google To Display Notice On Its Search Page

Feb 8, 2014

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A court in France has ordered a most public shaming for Google, telling the Internet giant it must display a notice on its French search page acknowledging it's been fined over how it tracked and stored user information.

The $200,000 fine was imposed in January by the French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) for violating consumer privacy.

According to Google Translate, the above notice reads:

"Release: the Restricted National Commission on Informatics and Liberties has condemned the company Google 150 000 euro fine for breaches 'and Freedoms' law. Decision reached at the following address: http://www.cnil.fr/linstitution/missions/sanctionner/Google/"

The Verge reports:

"The order handed down with the fine was very specific as to how the message should look: it should be placed on Google.fr right below the search buttons, and it should be written in an Arial typeface no smaller than 13 points. That's much larger than any fine-print, and placing the message on Google's classically pristine homepage would ensure that all users see it.

" 'This is something we've never seen before,' Google representative Patrice Spinosi said during Thursday's hearing. 'Google has always maintained that page in a virgin state.' "

After first fighting the fine and the order to air dirty laundry on its own search page, Google said Friday it had acquiesed:

"We've engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process to explain our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler, more effective services," a Google spokesman said in an emailed statement.

"We will comply with the order to post the notice, but we'll also continue with our appeal before the Conseil d'Etat," the statement read.

Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands reportedly have similar cases in the works against Google. They, like France, argue that Google's privacy policy violates local rules protecting consumers.

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